Most of us have been told to "eat our veggies" since we were little kids. Some of us listened and some of us brushed it off as yet one more annoying demand that our parents put on us. As adults, we probably know that the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals from fresh produce, are really good for us, but how many of us actually keep track of how many servings of fruits and veggies we get every day? Current recommendations are set at 7 servings per day, but we recommend you aim higher and shoot for at least 9 servings per, mostly vegetables, since research shows that vegetables actually have greater health benefits than fruit.
Recent research showed that individuals who consume 7 servings of fruit and vegetables reduce their risk of death by 42% compared to individuals who consume one serving or less per day. Compared to folks who eat less than a serving of fruit and vegetables daily, risk of death is cut by 14% when we eat up to three servings of fruit, 29% when we eat up to five servings, 36% for five to seven servings and 42% for seven servings and above.
What doesn't count as a serving – fruit juice or canned fruit actually increase the risk of death, likely due to the concentrated sugar and lack of fiber. Some canned fruit is actually packed in syrup, which adds to the overall high sugar content=, best avoided all together.